Launch Slideshow

The garage front's rusted steel facing contrasts with the smooth polycarbonate panels of the garden wall.

Mid-Century Makeovers

Mid-Century Makeovers

  • The House for Locavore Farmers is a major reworking of a Geyserville, Calif., residence.

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    The House for Locavore Farmers is a major reworking of a Geyserville, Calif., residence.

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    Elliott Kaufman Photography

  • The upper level floor plan, after renovation.

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    The upper level floor plan, after renovation.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • A section of the remodeled house.

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    A section of the remodeled house.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The project's site plan.

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    The project's site plan.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The house before renovation.

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    The house before renovation.

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    Courtesy Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The home's new ipe porch captures mountain views.

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    The home's new ipe porch captures mountain views.

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    Elliott Kaufman Photography

  • Ipe slats act as a sunscreen for the porch, which functions as an extension of the upper level's living space.

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    Ipe slats act as a sunscreen for the porch, which functions as an extension of the upper level's living space.

    600

    Elliott Kaufman Photography

  • Rather than blocking sightlines, as the old porch had done, the new porch opens up previously inaccessible vistas.

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    Rather than blocking sightlines, as the old porch had done, the new porch opens up previously inaccessible vistas.

    600

    Elliott Kaufman Photography

  • Cooper Joseph Studio forged a greater connection between the home's lower and upper levels, creating a better flow for the interiors.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio forged a greater connection between the home's lower and upper levels, creating a better flow for the interiors.

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    Elliott Kaufman Photography

  • The lower level floor plan before renovation.

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    The lower level floor plan before renovation.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The lower level floor plan after renovation.

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    The lower level floor plan after renovation.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The upper level floor plan, before renovation.

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    The upper level floor plan, before renovation.

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    Cooper Joseph Studio

  • The Bal House is an addition to and remodel of a residence in Menlo Park, Calif., by Terry & Terry Architecture.

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    The Bal House is an addition to and remodel of a residence in Menlo Park, Calif., by Terry & Terry Architecture.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • An image of the house before the renovation.

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    An image of the house before the renovation.

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    courtesy Terry & Terry Architecture

  • The home's floor plan.

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    The home's floor plan.

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    Terry & Terry Architecture

  • The home's northeast elevation.

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    The home's northeast elevation.

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    Terry & Terry Architecture

  • The mid-century ranch home's front facade received a light makeover.

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    The mid-century ranch home's front facade received a light makeover.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • A new carport roof incorporates bold geometry and richly textured wood.

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    A new carport roof incorporates bold geometry and richly textured wood.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Terry & Terry had the existing rear elevation completely removed. They added about 1,000 square feet of new space, in two rectilinear volumes.

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    Terry & Terry had the existing rear elevation completely removed. They added about 1,000 square feet of new space, in two rectilinear volumes.

    600

    Bruce Damonte

  • The larger volume contains a kitchen, dining, and media room, while the smaller one (background of photo) holds a master bedroom wing.

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    The larger volume contains a kitchen, dining, and media room, while the smaller one (background of photo) holds a master bedroom wing.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Between the addition's two volumes lies a narrow garden integrated into the house by a curved glass wall.

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    Between the addition's two volumes lies a narrow garden integrated into the house by a curved glass wall.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Another look at the curved glass wall and garden, which the judges particularly admired.

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    Another look at the curved glass wall and garden, which the judges particularly admired.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Cumaru forms the floors and ceilings of the new kitchen, adding depth and a warm layer of color to the space's white walls and marine-blue cabinetry.

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    Cumaru forms the floors and ceilings of the new kitchen, adding depth and a warm layer of color to the space's white walls and marine-blue cabinetry.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Terry & Terry also renovated the existing house. Here, they punctuated the presence of a street-facing picture window with a modern steel frame.

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    Terry & Terry also renovated the existing house. Here, they punctuated the presence of a street-facing picture window with a modern steel frame.

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    Bruce Damonte

  • Many components of this kitchen were custom-fabricated, such as the resin and CNC-milled cabinets; cast-glass bar counter; hand-blown glass light fixtures; and steel wall panels, which were left outside to weather for three months.

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    Many components of this kitchen were custom-fabricated, such as the resin and CNC-milled cabinets; cast-glass bar counter; hand-blown glass light fixtures; and steel wall panels, which were left outside to weather for three months.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

  • New clerestories bring natural light into the kitchen, and radiant-heated terrazzo floors provide even warmth.

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    New clerestories bring natural light into the kitchen, and radiant-heated terrazzo floors provide even warmth.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

  • In the southwest corner, an oval tub sits in a steel frame with a laser-cut pattern resembling vine runners, which is repeated on the valances.

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    In the southwest corner, an oval tub sits in a steel frame with a laser-cut pattern resembling vine runners, which is repeated on the valances.

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    Benjamin Benschneider

  • Over the sinks, architect Nils C. Finne added large mirrors, suspended in thin steel frames, that reflect patterns and light from the continuous windows behind them. They contribute a moment of glamour to an otherwise restrained room, and they do sway, underscoring the sense of hovering lightly in space.

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    Over the sinks, architect Nils C. Finne added large mirrors, suspended in thin steel frames, that reflect patterns and light from the continuous windows behind them. They contribute a moment of glamour to an otherwise restrained room, and they do sway, underscoring the sense of hovering lightly in space.

    600

    Benjamin Benschneider

  • With its new gabled fir ceiling, cherry cabinets, and limestone floors and countertop, the bath plays off its natural setting.

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    With its new gabled fir ceiling, cherry cabinets, and limestone floors and countertop, the bath plays off its natural setting.

    600

    Benjamin Benschneider

  • The street-front of this remodeled 1950s ranch retains much of its original identity.

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    The street-front of this remodeled 1950s ranch retains much of its original identity.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • The garden wall encloses a hidden courtyard with a separate pavilion that houses both daytime living spaces and the owners architecture studio.

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    The garden wall encloses a hidden courtyard with a separate pavilion that houses both daytime living spaces and the owners architecture studio.

    600

    Bill Timmerman

  • The garage front's rusted steel facing contrasts with the smooth polycarbonate panels of the garden wall.

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    The garage front's rusted steel facing contrasts with the smooth polycarbonate panels of the garden wall.

    600

    Bill Timmerman

  • When lifted, the live/work pavilion's operable polycarbonate awning becomes a giant lantern.

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    When lifted, the live/work pavilion's operable polycarbonate awning becomes a giant lantern.

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    Bill Timmerman

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    600

    Bill Timmerman

  • The live/work pavilion houses the owners three-person architecture studio.

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    The live/work pavilion houses the owners three-person architecture studio.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • The operable awning in its lifted position.

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    The operable awning in its lifted position.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • The operable awning in its lowered position.

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    The operable awning in its lowered position.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • Wheeled millwork components move to create a variety of interior configurations.

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    Wheeled millwork components move to create a variety of interior configurations.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • Moving a millwork component incorporates a bedroom space into the playroom.

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    Moving a millwork component incorporates a bedroom space into the playroom.

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    Bill Timmerman

  • The floor plan.

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    The floor plan.

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    Courtesy colab studio

  • A detail of the operable awning.

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    A detail of the operable awning.

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    Courtesy colab studio

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  • Image

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

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    Ben Ryuki Miyagi

  • Canadian cedar, granite pavers, and sandblasted glass doors greet visitors on approach.

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    Canadian cedar, granite pavers, and sandblasted glass doors greet visitors on approach.

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    John Sutton

  • Sliding Douglas fir doors with rice paper sandwiched between the glass provide dining privacy when the need arises.

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    Sliding Douglas fir doors with rice paper sandwiched between the glass provide dining privacy when the need arises.

    600

    John Sutton

  • Ohashi Design improved the home's energy efficiency with new insulation, in-floor radiant heating, tankless water heaters, and an entirely new mechanical system.

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    Ohashi Design improved the home's energy efficiency with new insulation, in-floor radiant heating, tankless water heaters, and an entirely new mechanical system.

    600

    John Sutton

  • Walnut millwork, a border of black river rocks, and a band of spotted gum flooring create an eclectic mix inside. The clients are fond of the tactile quality of materials.

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    Walnut millwork, a border of black river rocks, and a band of spotted gum flooring create an eclectic mix inside. The clients are fond of the tactile quality of materials.

    600

    John Sutton

  • The floor plan after the renovation.

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    The floor plan after the renovation.

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    Courtesy Ohashi Design Studio

  • The existing house lacked curb appeal and largely ignored the street. Strangely enough, it also failed to address the water views from the rear.

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    The existing house lacked curb appeal and largely ignored the street. Strangely enough, it also failed to address the water views from the rear.

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    Courtesy Ohashi Design Studio

  • The revamped entry sequence and street elevation offer a much more pleasing scene. Thin-film photovoltaic panels applied to the standing-seam metal roof create a 3-kilowatt system that's largely hidden in plain sight.

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    The revamped entry sequence and street elevation offer a much more pleasing scene. Thin-film photovoltaic panels applied to the standing-seam metal roof create a 3-kilowatt system that's largely hidden in plain sight.

    600

    John Sutton

  • The kitchen is a warm but modern blend of walnut cabinets, quartz counters, and stainless steel appliances.

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    The kitchen is a warm but modern blend of walnut cabinets, quartz counters, and stainless steel appliances.

    600

    John Sutton

  • Correcting a previous mistake, Ohashi Design Studio opened up this '60s ranch to water views with a wall of aluminum and glass facing San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

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    Correcting a previous mistake, Ohashi Design Studio opened up this '60s ranch to water views with a wall of aluminum and glass facing San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate Bridge.

    600

    John Sutton

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    ras-a-inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Robert Sweet, ras-a inc.

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    Charles D. Smith

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    Charles D. Smith

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    Charles D. Smith

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  • When lifted, the live/work pavilion's operable polycarbonate awning becomes a giant lantern.

    Credit: Bill Timmerman

    When lifted, the live/work pavilion's operable polycarbonate awning becomes a giant lantern.

Aside from our annual design awards winners, the most viewed story on residential architect’s website is a 2004 piece on remodeling ubiquitous American house types—including mid-20th century suburban homes. This topic’s popularity is no doubt driven by the thousands of homeowners saddled with outdated housing located in desirable neighborhoods.

Although architects love to tackle the new custom homes that often win our awards, their best supply of work may come from unlocking the potential of these aging ranches and split-levels. Matthew and Maria Salenger, AIA, of colab studio created an exciting example of design’s transformative power with their own 1950s ranch remodel in Tempe, Ariz. (shown below). And yes—it, too, won a residential architect Design Award. Architects are the masters of reinvention—a skill we’ll need more than ever in the next 15 years we chronicle.

View more photos of this project and other recent mid-century makeovers in our slideshow.